DNV GL: Remote services to increase in importance post COVID-19

The Maritime Operational Centre in Høvik, from where remote surveys are being carried out. Other units with remote survey experts are located in Hamburg, Singapore, Houston and Piraeus. Credit: DNV GL

Further digitalisation and the use of remote services will be relied on more, even after the outbreak of COVID-19 declines, according to industry figures at a DNV GL webinar on 2 April.

“Maritime shipping is facing unprecedented challenges these days in the coronavirus crisis,” said Anne Moschner, director communications DNV GL Maritime. “Digital forms of collaboration have now become more important than ever and so have digital solutions to support ship operations.”

During the webinar on how to continue smooth ship operations during the pandemic, Geir Dugstad, technical director, DNV GL, said that despite COVID-19, strict environmental regulations still apply and will continue to be enforced. He noted that ships are still scheduling ballast water retrofits and trying to gain access to low sulphur fuels to remain compliant.

Dugstad added that due to continued regulatory pressure use  of DNV GL’s digital tools has increased, especially remote surveys, over the past few weeks when  lockdowns have been implemented. “These tools are useful and will continue to be useful after the crisis as well,” he concluded.

The use of digital solutions such as e-certificates and remote surveys is increasing and is, in some cases, more efficient. “There is no way of losing a certificate if you have it electronically,” stated Stener Stenersen, head of DNV GL’s technical support, adding that handling costs and postage time is also cut from the equation.

Further, the use of remote surveys brings little distraction to operations and saves travel time and cost for the surveyor. The remote surveyor will first check t if the survey can be carried out remotely and once carried out, certificates are issued digitally and immediately, which will ensure vessel compliance, even duringthese disruptive times.

Stenersen assured that all remote survey requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and as a result 10% of survey requests are rejected if it is felt the same quality as an onboard survey will not be achieved.

“We strongly believe the role of the auditor will not disappear, but there will be an increase in remote surveys after COVID-19,” Stenersen concluded.